This Week in DC: Events

The government may be shutdown, but apparently DC isn’t. Here are a smattering of the week’s science, international security, and public health events. 

Monday, October 7, 2010

When Children are Refugees: Pediatric Health Care in Refugee Camps
George Mason University, Founders Hall, Arlington, VA
9:00am – 11:00AM

Co-sponsored by the World Medical & Health Policy journal, the Policy Studies Organization, the Center for International Medical Policy and Practice at the School of Public Policy and the Biodefense Program in the Department of Public and International Affairs at George Mason University. Dr. Khuri-Bulos, has written and spoken on “The Role of Immunization in Achieving the Millennium Development Goals,” and is responsible for the immunization program Jordan established for children living at Zaatari. Dr. Waldman, former Technical Director of the USAID-funded BASICS program, a global child survival effort, is President of the Board of Directors of Doctors of the World-USA.

Deciphering Russian Policy on Syria: What Happened…and What’s Next
Wilson Center
12:00 – 1:00PM

Since the Arab Spring arrived in Syria in 2011, Russia has strongly supported the Assad regime’s efforts to suppress its opponents, while the U.S. has remained relatively uninvolved. But when, in August 2013, over 1,400 people were killed in a chemical weapons attack (believed to have been perpetrated by the Syrian government), President Obama declared his intention to launch a military strike against Syria once he obtained Congressional approval for it. Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov then proposed that Syrian chemical weapons be placed under international control. While the Obama Administration has embraced this proposal, it is still not clear whether it can be implemented or if (even if it is) Russia and the U.S. can work together to resolve the conflict in Syria.

A New Look at American Foreign Policy: The Third in a Series of Discussions
Heritage Foundation
12:00PM – 1:00PM

For decades, libertarians and conservatives have been at odds over American foreign policy. But perhaps a conversation is possible today between classical liberals and conservatives on the nature of American foreign policy. Some are trying to find a “middle way” that is less doctrinaire. At the same time the “neo” conservative phase of hyper military interventionism is a spent force in conservative circles. Therefore, the time may be ripe for an open and honest conversation among some libertarians and conservatives about the future of American foreign policy. It may be possible a new consensus could be found between Americans who consider themselves classical liberals and traditional conservatives on the purposes of American foreign policy. Join us as Heritage continues the discussion regarding this question, what the dangers and opportunities are and whether they afford an opportunity to take a “new look” at American foreign policy.

Domestic Barriers to Dismantling the Militant Infrastructure in Pakistan
US Institute of Peace
2:00 PM

Pakistan’s inability to tackle Islamist militancy within its borders and to prevent cross-border attacks from its soil remains a constant worry for the world. While the Pakistani state pledges lack of capacity to deal with the various facets of the militant challenge, the world is unconvinced of the ‘will’ of the Pakistani leadership to fight with determination. The Pakistani security establishment has been seen as selectively targeting certain Islamist outfits while ignoring, supporting, or abetting others

Revolutionary Mosquitoes: Malaria, Yellow Fever, and Independence in the Americas, 1776-1825
Wilson Center
4:00PM – 5:30 PM

John McNeill argues that yellow fever and malaria, both mosquito-borne diseases, helped make the Americas free. In the campaigns of 1780-81 in the Carolinas and Virginia, in the Haitian Revolution of 1791-1804, in the wars of independence in the Spanish Americas of 1808-25, locally born and raised soldiers and militia enjoyed a strong advantage over European troops in terms of their resistance to these two infections. Did disease tip the military balance?

Tuesday, October 8

Rethinking U.S. Nuclear Weapons Policy
CATO Institute
12:00 PM

Featuring Benjamin Friedman, Research Fellow in Defense and Homeland Security Policy, Cato Institute; and Christopher Preble Vice President for Defense and Foreign Policy Studies, Cato Institute; moderated by Laura Odato, Cato Institute. The United States maintains nearly 1,600 deployed nuclear weapons and a triad of systems—bombers, intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs), and submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs)—to deliver them. Current plans call for modernizing all three legs of the nuclear triad, which could cost taxpayers over $100 billion. A just-released Cato paper explains why a triad is no longer necessary. U.S. nuclear weapons policies have long rested on Cold War–era myths, and the rationales have aged badly in the two decades since the Soviet Union’s demise. Two of the paper’s authors, Benjamin Friedman and Christopher Preble, will discuss the origins of the nuclear triad and explain why a far smaller arsenal deployed entirely on submarines would be sufficient to deter attacks on the United States and its allies and would save roughly $20 billion annually.

Security and Governance in Somalia: Consolidating Gains, Confronting Challenges, and Charting the Path Forward
U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations

For more information, visit the website here.

Wednesday, October 9

Towards an International Response Framework: Emergency Preparedness in the Asia-Pacific
Banyan Analytics
9:00AM – 4:00PM

How should the USG prepare to respond to future Asian disasters, especially CBRNE? What are the response and assistance expectations of our Asian friends and allies? How necessary and practical is an International Response Framework (IRF)? What should an IRF look like?

NSA Surveillance: What we know, What to do About it
CATO Institute
10:00 AM

Since June, news reports based on documents leaked by former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden have revealed the depth and breadth of NSA surveillance activities. The NSA scandal’s many dimensions include: mass domestic surveillance of telephone call information; allegations that officials deceived Congress, the courts, and the public about the nature of the NSA’s programs; alleged access to the Internet’s backbone and the traffic of major Internet companies; and systematic efforts to undercut the use of the encryption that secures communications and financial information. Please join us on October 9 at a conference focusing on these issues and more, featuring keynote addresses by Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR), Rep. Justin Amash (R-MI), and Rep. F. James Sensenbrenner (R-WI). Conference speakers and panels will explore the reporting challenges, legal issues, technology and business dimensions, and potential for reforms related to NSA surveillance. Additional information on speakers and panel topics will be posted soon.

Thursday, October 10

Rise of Radical Islamism in the South Caucasus: The Threat and Response
Hudson Institute
9:00 AM – 2:30 PM

The conference topic is especially timely as the U.S. continues its withdrawal from Afghanistan, instability mounts in North Africa and the Middle East, and Tehran continues to reject international calls for a halt to its enrichment activities. This turmoil also underscores the importance of strong and stable American allies in a region, the South Caucasus, of increasing importance to U.S. interests. While Iran is using home-grown Shia Islamists to undermine the secular nature of Azerbaijan, the growing influence of Salafi groups in the North Caucasus is now spilling into neighboring countries. At the same time, poorly designed and inadequately executed responses by various governments have contributed to this increase in extremism. Given this situation, how can South Caucasian governments and the international community prevent the spread of radicalism and promote traditions of tolerant Islam that allow co-existence and cooperation among Christians, Jews, and Sunni and Shia Muslims? What is the U.S. security strategy and vision for the Caucasus region? What is Iran’s strategy in the South Caucasus and to what extent should the region shape U.S.-Iran relations?

NSA Surveillance Programs and the Najibullah Zazi Terrorist Threat
Brookings Institution
10:30AM – 12:00PM

The extensive National Security Agency surveillance programs revealed this summer by former U.S. intelligence contractor Edward Snowden have been defended by the United States government, citing their role in preventing terrorist attacks at home and abroad. The most frequently cited example of such success is the thwarting of the September 2009 al Qaeda terrorist plot – led by Najibullah Zazi, an Afghan-American – to attack the New York City subway system. Pulitzer-prize winning journalists Matt Apuzzo and Adam Goldman have just finished an in depth investigation of the Zazi threat, and in their new book, Enemies Within: Inside NYPD’s Secret Spying Unit and Bin Ladin’s Final Plot Against America (Touchstone, 2013), they outline how the plot was foiled and what the plot reveals about the al Qaeda threat today.

Streamlining US Visa Policies for Scientists, Engineers, and Students
GMU Technology, Science, and Innovation Policy Research Seminars
12:00 – 1:30 PM

This monthly seminar series, sponsored by George Mason University’s Center for Science and Technology Policy (School of Public Policy), explores new ideas and work-in-progress with the Washington-area research community. It’s open and free to all interested researchers with a special invitation extended to graduate students. The seminars are held at the George Mason University’s School of Public Policy (Founders Hall) on the Arlington campus, a short walk from the Orange Line’s Virginia Square/GMU Metro stop (map). The seminar starts at about 12:00 and concludes no later than 1:30. CSTP will provide coffee and cookies — participants are welcome to bring a brown bag lunch. Driving Directions can be found here.

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